Montessori teaching methods was developed by Italian Maria Montessori in 1900 and is an education method based on the principle that children can teach and guide themselves to learn if they are given manipulatives that provide a pathway leading to the knowledge they need to acquire. This type of education has been used widely in recent years and students are receiving a wonderful education while being both physically and intellectually involved.
As I understand the program as it is applied in the case of dementia, the key is to provide physical clues that assist the patient complete tasks and games thus helping them retain and relearn skills they have had in the past.
In an article written for Human Kinetics they had this to say about dementia patients:
The most important message is that people with dementia are still people—there is a person behind the dementia.... People with dementia need an environment that places the information they need into the environment (such as directional signs, information about when loved ones will visit, templates that provide directions to help them complete an activity and reminders about things they need to do). When you take this supportive environment into consideration, and create a world where they have roles, routines, and activities that are created at their level of ability and suited to their needs and interests, you find a normal person who wants to be engaged in life. Always remember that a person with dementia is a person with a past, a present, and a future. The challenge is to create a purposeful, meaningful world where the person with dementia can enjoy each day with dignity and hope for a better tomorrow.I know that as we age dementia or Alzheimer is a worry that lingers in the back of our minds...the thought that we or someone we know may suffer from memory problems and emotional disabilities is just unthinkable. But it does happen. You know that I think you need to be armed with the best information possible. Here is just one piece of the puzzle.
The person that wrote the letter to The Little Old Lady is a Canadian educator working for DementiAbility Enterprises Inc. Take a look at the article and then look at the articles on Montessori for Dementia in the Google search.